Tips for Good Oral Health

Good oral health is vital not only for the health of your teeth but your overall physical health. By keeping good oral habits you can stave off many dental-related issues, and in the event, you develop a problem that requires you to have oral surgery, you are likely to have a better outcome. Not sure how to get started with a proper oral health regimen? Check out the few tips below. 

Follow a Proper Brushing Routine

One of the easiest ways to get a healthy smile is coming up with a regular brushing routine that will properly eliminate debris from your teeth, reducing your risk for decay. You always want to make sure that you brush twice a day, avoiding brushing directly after eating, especially if you have consumed highly acidic food. Make sure you focus on the area where your teeth meet your gums, helping to dislodge debris that has become caught in between teeth. Make sure that you brush for at least two minutes and finish off by brushing your tongue to remove bacteria. 

Another important part of a good brushing routine is having the proper equipment and using it properly. Always make sure to use a toothpaste with fluoride and a soft-bristle brush that you can fit easily in your mouth. When brushing, put your toothbrush at a slight angle using both circular and back and forth motions. You will always want to make sure to replace your toothbrush often, opting for a new one every three months, or when the bristles are no longer regular.

Don’t Forget to Floss

Even when you brush well, you will not be able to get all of the debris out from between your teeth and your gum line, which makes regular flossing critical to maintaining proper gum health and reducing the risk of decay. You should try to floss at least once a day and then maintain it as needed by using a dental pick or pre-threaded flosser. Always be gentle so you don’t cause damage to your gums. Once you have slid the floss between your teeth, use a c shape to curve around each tooth and gently remove the debris. Don’t skimp on the floss and be sure to use a fresh spot as you move to each tooth. 

Stay On Top of Dental Appointments

Part of maintaining good oral health is staying on top of preventative appointments and addressing dental issues when they arise. Regular cleanings are not only important to remove debris and prevent decay, but also for the oral cancer screening performed. You should also contact your dentist immediately for an appointment if you have any issues, such as loose or cracked teeth, bleeding, redness or swelling of your gums, unusual sensitivity, or pain. These all could be signs that you are in need of a dental procedure and the sooner the issue is addressed, the more likely you will have a better outcome. 

Maintaining good oral health does not require a lot. A few good habits, and you’ll be in good shape. By following the tips above and staying on top of your oral health you will enjoy a healthy smile as well as prepare yourself for better outcomes in the event you need a more extensive procedure or oral surgery. 

Understanding The Differences Between Dentistry And OMS

OMS looking at xray

When to See a Dentist

The following situations constitute a visit to a regular dentist office. It’s important to note that regular visits to the dentist are essential for optimal oral health. See a dentist for:

  • Repairs to damaged teeth, requiring crowns, onlays, or fillings.
  • Root canals.
  • Dentures.
  • Routine dental care, such as teeth cleanings.

When to See an OMS

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons have completed extensive training that starts in dental school but includes an additional four years of surgical residency, based in a hospital. This means an oral maxillofacial surgeon is an expert in jaw, mouth and facial surgery and can provide a level of care above and beyond basic dentistry needs, including the administration of anesthesia for various procedures. See an OMS for:

  • Oral surgeries such as bone grafting, expose and bond and frenectomy.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Craniofacial, palate or cleft lip surgery.
  • Neck, head or oral pathology.
  • Trauma to the facial area.
  • Corrective jaw surgical procedures.
  • Cosmetic surgery of the facial region.
  • Facial pain and TMJ
  • Tooth extractions.
  • Extraction or management of wisdom teeth.
  • Dental implants.

Is There Any Overlap Between OMS and Dentistry?

Yes. There are some overlapping treatments that appear in both OMS and dentistry. However, in general, if a patient needs anesthesia for a procedure or requires more than a simple oral repair or maintenance, a visit to an OMS is likely in order.

What if It’s Still Not Clear

Any patient who still isn’t sure if their oral condition or pain falls under the jurisdiction of a dentist or an oral maxillofacial surgeon, they can simply call an OMS and ask if their specific case merits the attention of a specialist in the form of an OMS or could be handled by a dentist.

What About Orthodontics?

Another extension of dentistry commonly confused with OMS and regular dentistry is orthodontics. An orthodontist is a dentist who has graduated from dental school, who then undergoes additional specialized training in straightening teeth. If a patient’s teeth are misaligned, has gaps or their bite is off, their dentist will likely recommend a trip to the orthodontist, which will often result in the patient utilizing braces or retainers in order to straighten their teeth. Although orthodontia is thought of by many as simply cosmetic, ensuring the teeth are aligned properly actually makes it easier to keep teeth clean and healthy and reduces the risk of developing painful conditions affecting the jaw.

All Dental Professionals Have One Goal in Mind

The field of dentistry is broad and encompasses several niche specialties. Each is important to overall oral health and applicable in differing situations. Patients are always advised to make regular dental visits a habit in order to keep their teeth clean and healthy. However, sometimes, patients need more than maintenance and cleanings. That’s when an OMS comes into play. They can help a patient overcome debilitating oral conditions affecting their teeth, jaws and facial regions. Patients are encouraged to contact an OMS to learn more about whether their specific situation would be best addressed by an OMS, dentist or orthodontist.

Anesthesia For Oral Surgery

Oral surgery is a procedure that many people will require at some point in their lives. Whether it’s pulling a tooth, extracting impacted wisdom teeth, or more invasive procedures like reconstruction, most of us will find ourselves sitting in that chair for more than a routine check-up.

Many of the frequent questions we receive concern how they will be sedated during their operation. Will I be awake during the procedure? Will it hurt? Anxiety over oral surgery is completely normal and in this article, we’ll explore the different kinds of anesthesia used in oral surgery.

Types of sedation
Under most sedatives, you’ll remain somewhat conscious but many patients feel so relaxed and tranquil that they end up falling asleep during the procedure. Often times, they have no memory of the surgery at all. What type of sedation you’ll use depends on how invasive the procedure is.

Local anesthesia
Local anesthesia is a numbing medication that temporarily prevents the nerve fibers from sending signals to the brain. While using a local anesthetic, such as lidocaine, patients remain fully awake and aware. However, the area around the injection point doesn’t feel any pain. It’s typically used during minimally invasive procedures, such as removing an erupted tooth. But, it’s also used alongside stronger forms of anesthesia for more invasive or complicated surgeries.

After a simple procedure using a local anesthetic, patients will feel numbness for several hours and won’t require precautions such as an escort to drive them home or fasting before the procedure.

Nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is a form of conscious sedation. It’s administered through a mask worn by the patient who then breaths in a steady combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen. It is used with simple as well as more complicated procedures.

Patients feel relaxed and their anxiety is reduced. They may also control how much is administered by simply taking deeper and more frequent breaths. Within several minutes following the procedure, the effects will wear off and the patient will be able to drive themselves home. Another benefit is how little this method costs. There are typically no added expenses associated with nitrous oxide.

Oral medication
The oral medication method typically requires that patients take anti-anxiety pills such as Valium, Halcion, or Ativan, to achieve conscious sedation. This method is usually more effective at sedating patients than nitrous oxide and is also not costly to administer. Patients usually take the medication roughly an hour before the procedure.

One issue with this method is consistency. Some patients may react to unpredictably to the medication, i.e. taking longer to feel its effects, requiring stronger doses, etc. Patients will also require the help of a friend or family member to drive them to and from the office as they will feel very groggy afterward.

IV sedation
The intravenous (IV) sedation process involves administering medication through a vein. The medication is fast acting and is the most effective form of sedation for oral surgeries other than general anesthesia. Patients typically have no recollection of the operation. Like oral medication, patients will need assistance getting home and will feel groggy following the appointment.

General anesthesia
General anesthesia is used for patients who require more extensive surgical procedures such as facial and jaw reconstruction. It is typically administered orally and intravenously and patients will become fully unconscious and have no memory of the procedure.

Your Procedure
Every oral and maxillofacial surgeon receives training for all aspects of anesthesia administration, so patients don’t have anything to worry about. They can rest easy knowing their surgeon and staff are well-prepared professionals. And if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask your dentist or surgeon. They’re there to make the procedure as comfortable as possible.

5 Oral Surgery Recovery Tips!

Oral surgery is any procedure where cutting or removing tissue in your mouth is involved. The most common types of oral surgeries are wisdom teeth removal, gum grafts and dental implants.

Recovery is typically very fast. However, we wanted to fill you in on five essential tips to making it the easiest recovery possible.

  1. Rest! Use this to your advantage, and get some sleep! Let your body recover quickly by taking it easy. Especially the day of and after surgery. To avoid as much swelling as possible – use a pillow to prop your head!
  2. Do not smoke (ever) but at the very least until you are healed! Smoking puts you at a greater risk for infection or complication as it lengthens your recovery.
  3. Ice is your friend! Keep an ice pack handy and apply it to your face throughout the first day. Ice reduces inflammation so we recommend you ice on and off for 15 minutes at a time.
  4. Don’t skip on your meds! It’s very important to stay on top of your recommended pain medications. Take them as directed and don’t forget. Getting behind might be something you end up regretting as they should keep pain very minimal.
  5. Don’t eat seeds or berries! This is a funny sounding one but it’s important. Eat smooth foods. If you’re making a smoothie don’t use berries. Little tiny seeds can get stuck in your incision sites and that’s never fun.

Of course, there is a whole list of post operative instructions we will give you when you visit us. We hope these tips help!

Impacted Teeth

Impacted Teeth

When you think of impacted teeth you often assume the very common “wisdom teeth”. However, there is another less common but still common impacted problem that can occur with teeth. The impacted upper canines. Oral surgeons have a simple solution to this: EXPOSE AND BOND! 

While wisdom teeth have little to no function and can be extracted without loss of function for the patient, upper canines are vital for chewing, smiling, and closing the upper jaw properly over the lower jaw. For these reasons, an orthodontist will often refer a patient to an oral surgeon to help with this process. When you are referred to Aspire Surgical for this procedure we like to see you for a consultation before you schedule surgery. We ask that when you call to schedule a consultation that you have your dental insurance information handy so we can give you a quote based on your coverage. We also ask that you bring an x ray or have your dentist or orthodontist email us your most recent panoramic x ray. If you need a new one taken, we can do that for you too! 

Once you meet our team and your doctor here at Aspire, we are sure you’ll be feeling much less anxious about the whole experience. From there we will schedule you for your surgery. On the day of surgery we will have you sedated with an IV to give you the best experience possible. 

What happens next: the hiding tooth is surgically exposed and a bracket is placed. Any gum tissue that was cut is restored and you will be feeling just fine in a day or so. Soon after surgery, the patient sees their orthodontist to have the chain attached from the new bracket to the braces.

The procedure is very straightforward and quick with minimal pain when done correctly but the process of the tooth fitting into position can be slow. It could take a year or so before everything is perfect as far as tooth position goes.  This process is multiple steps, includes a surgery that we recommend sedation for and a back and forth from both doctors. However, teamwork makes the dream work and we at Aspire are happy to help expose a natural tooth for a young patient that will be showing off their perfect smile for years to come.

If you have any questions about this procedure give us a call or write us on social media! We’d love to help you!